Let me start out by saying that Shana Abe writes absolutely brilliantly! I haven't read any of her other works before finding this title on NetGalley, but, I shall have to remedy that situation soon. Abe puts together a story that is dark, intriguing, and mysterious. It has a touch of romance in the middle of a devastating World War I and her characters are far from perfect, and yet, I couldn't imagine Abe writing them any differently.
Set in 1915 England, The Sweetest Dark is the story about Eleanor (Lora) Jones and her discovery of what she really is. Lora is a pretty interesting character to read about. Tossed away when she was a small child with no memories of who her parents were or how she came to being, she ends up in a situation where she has to struggle in order to survive in the Blisshaven Foundling Home for orphans. She doesn't whine about it. She doesn't feel sorry for herself. She does what's necessary to get by with a focused determination.
Given the opportunity to attend The Iverson School for Girls because of the war with Germany, Lora never bows down to her betters who have all come from royalty, nor does she change for the sake of changing. She finds some interesting factoids about the voices she continually hears in her head and for which doctors tried to cure her of. She learns about herself and her abilities slowly and yet the story wasn't bogged down by any unnecessary nonsense or angst. I loved the fact that she is a different kind of dragon (Drakon). She doesn't just shape shift or manifest into her alter ego right off the bat. I actually found this part of the story appealing and unique as well. Of course, I love reading about dragons so I may be biased.
As for the secondary characters, I absolutely adored Jesse Helms the groundskeeper at the Iverson's girl school and hope we will see him again soon. It took a while for me to warm up to the rakish Armand Louis, but in the end, he turned out to be fantastic as well. This is exactly the kind of story that I didn't really mind that there were two boys fawning over one girl. My heart and soul was with Jesse throughout the story and his connection with Eleanor was unmistakable. Yet, the fact that Armand and Lora are also connected in a way that Jesse can’t be, made it hard for me to keep up the masquerade that I really didn’t much care for him.
The Sweetest Dark is the first book in the series by the same name and I am absolutely ecstatic that I was also approved for the sequel called The Deepest Night through Edelweiss. I am looking forward to continuing about Lora’s journey and discoveries about what it means to be one of the last Drakon’s in existence.
Title - The Sweetest Dark
Author - Shana Abe
Publisher - Bantam
Released - April 2, 2013
Received via Netgalley
Genre - Paranormal Romance